Why does some toothpaste have a stripe in it?
Does it make the toothpaste work better? Is it necessary to make an effective product?
No—it’s there so you see it. So you see the stripe of extra cleaning power and intuit that the product must work better because it’s got an extra ingredient in it.
As Rory Sutherland points out in Alchemy, “the stripes serve as a signal: a claim that a toothpaste performed more than one function (fighting cavities, tackling infection and freshening breath) was thought to be more convincing if the toothpaste contained three visibly separate active ingredients.”
We can dismiss this as marketing hooey, but it’s not: it’s demonstration of value. It’s a little bit of extra effort on the manufacturer’s part to demonstrate to their customers that what they claim is true.
So the first question is: What parts of your business are you lumping in together, making multiple claims at once?
Are you both fast and high-end? Does your product save the customer money while also empowering them to do more than they could before?
And now the second question: How could you separate these elements and demonstrate their effectiveness, like a toothpaste stripe?
Could your website copy be grouped into clear sections, each focusing on an element of your offering? Could your product page include descriptions of what went into development at every stage, instead of simply showing the final piece?
Or could your social media copy focus on one clear benefit at a time, instead of trying to tell the whole story at once?
The stripes in the toothpaste remind you—demonstrate to you—that the promise on the package is credible.
So, what promises are you making, and how can you turn them into visible stripes?